The Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) will resume sponsorship of Safari Sevens tournament after almost a decade after announcing a Sh115 million three-year deal with Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) on Friday.
Through its flagship brand, Tusker, KBL – who terminated their sponsorship in 2009 after being title sponsors for 13 years – said they will support the union’s activities to the tune of Sh37.5 million this year.
KRU chairman Oduor Gangla disclosed that Safari Sevens, slated for October 18 to 20, has been allocated Sh20 million from that amount with the remainder being split among three national teams.
“Sh10 million will go to support Kenya Sevens team (Shujaa), Sh5 million for Kenya 15s (Simbas) and Sh2.5 million for Kenya women’s team (Lionesses),” revealed Gangla.
Despite the financial struggles the union has been struggling with this year, Gangla promised KBL that the money will be spent well.
“No KBL money will go unaccounted for. There will be transparency and accountability in utilising these funds,” he assured.
The return of Tusker is the latest chapter in the brand’s long history with the rugby, which dates back to the 1996 when Tusker Lager first took up title sponsorship of the Safari Sevens.
Speaking during the launch held at a Nairobi hotel, KBL Managing Director Jane Karuku expressed the company’s delight in returning to rugby.
“On behalf the Kenya Breweries Limited, we are delighted to announce this investment in the sport of rugby in the country. Ours is not just an investment, it is also a deep commitment to continue growing and developing the sport of rugby in the country with both the present and the future in mind,” said Karuku.
“We want to see the Safari Sevens this year, getting back to its former glory when it was the Tusker Safari sevens. That’s why we have also set aside part of our investment to ensure that we achieve this,” added Karuku who also urged KRU to ensure the funds are put into good use.
East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) Marketing and Innovation Director Graham Villiers-Tuthill, reiterated the company’s commitment towards turning rugby into a professional sport.
“We have walked with Kenya rugby through all these years and today marks a new chapter in our journey to seeing Kenya become a professional rugby playing nation,” he said.
This announcement comes at an opportune time for Kenyan rugby, as Lionesses and Shujaa kick off preparations for the Olympic qualifiers slated for October 12-13 in Tunisia and November 8-9 in South Africa, respectively. Simbas are also preparing for their final Victoria Cup match against Zimbabwe on September 21 in Nakuru.